Blog Series: 10 Reasons Small Business Marketing Fails #2

Fun concept: raw eggs with googly eyes and drawn features are in shock and sad as they witness another egg broken in two with the white and yolk in front of them; dark background.
Successful small business marketing requires a strategic approach to the online assets a business owns.

BLOG SERIES: Over the past ten years, I have consulted with a lot of businesses, met a lot of owners, and I have seen a lot of consistent “problems.” If you’re starting a business or looking to scale your existing business, this series will present some things to think about so that your marketing can help you achieve your long-term goals. I assure you, without a decent marketing plan, you’ll be swimming upstream until the day you take yourself and your marketing seriously and invest wisely in proven systems to help you grow.

In the meantime, this series of posts is designed to get you to start thinking and hopefully start taking action to help you grow your business.

Reason #2: All your business’s marketing eggs are in one basket.

Listen up. This one is important. If you’ve decided “Facebook is enough for my business to grow. It’s FREE and it’s easy for me to manage,” I implore you to think again. Yes, it might be free. Yes, it might be easy. But on Facebook — or any other 3rd party tool not owned by you and your company — you have absolutely no control of your brand.

I get it, this might not matter today, and if you’re kicking ass and taking names on Facebook today, good for you. But you’re not thinking or building your business with the long game in mind. Businesses who choose not to invest in building owned assets (websites, customer databases, content, systems) are not likely to succeed for the duration. Sure, you might build some relationships, generate some revenue, build a reputation based on your own character and personality. Maybe you’re comfortable asking your friends to “like” your offers. Your regulars are always popping in when you post something new or exciting happening with your business. AND THAT IS GREAT. But it’s not a solid marketing strategy on its own, and eventually, it will stop working.

Any time you put all your eggs in one basket you are at risk. You need to be thinking about how you will acquire new customers — not just keep your existing customers. And to do this, you need more than a Facebook page and a great personality.

Here’s a real life example:
A new business owner began building the buzz for his soon-to-open business. At first, he shared updates about the progress of the business to his personal account. Then, he created the business’s Facebook page and started sharing there. But he didn’t get enough traction — the Facebook algorithm wasn’t as friendly to him via his page, so he gave more attention to his personal account. His engagement was through the roof. He had this thing mastered. The hype was built and when the business opened, it was mad hysteria. Everything was going according to plan.

But, of course there were hiccups. Some systems weren’t quite what they needed to be. People had to wait for longer than they were told. Service staff wasn’t quite ready for the crowds. Customers’ first experiences were unpleasant and they started to talk about it. Of course, most were kind, suggesting that it was still early, things would get better.

The business had to make changes to a lot of different things along the way. But one thing stayed the same — the marketing depended solely on the Facebook page and the personal account of the owner. Transparency made it possible to build the buzz on the front end, but because everything depended on him — his message, his marketing, and his posting — it began to fade when he became busy. The reach on the Facebook page remained low. There was no other strategy. No website to drive traffic to. No email list. No way to reach customers who were not on Facebook once the initial hype was over. Sure, the media covered it at the beginning. The community at large was excited about the new venue, as is the case whenever there is a new business in town. But when it died down, there was no other strategy for keeping past customers engaged.

The business closed within a year.

Imagine what could have happened had this business owner diversified his marketing strategy a bit, in spite of the challenges. With a solid social strategy (built the right way), an email marketing plan, a strategic traditional marketing plan, the correct attention paid to Google and the business’s Google Business Listing, and an organized, informative website at the center of it all, this business might have thrived.

Let’s face it, we all face the challenges. We all make the same marketing decisions. The road to success in business is not a straight path. We have to adjust, and be prepared to pivot when things don’t go as planned. But building your brand, relying solely on one channel of communication in an omni-channel world is a mistake, no matter who you are, or what kind of business you’re in.

We all only know what we know. That’s where we can come in. Are you currently trying to make sense of a marketing plan that doesn’t rely solely on platforms that you don’t own? Let’s schedule a call. Take action today to begin creating a marketing plan for your business, and see what happens next! Click here to book a call with me today!

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Author: Chrissanne Long

Chrissanne Long is an online community builder who is passionate about the city of Lakeland (Maximize’s headquarters) and helping companies utilize the Internet to positively impact their businesses through a combination of measurable goals, authenticity, strategic social media campaigns that focus on bringing value to the audience, collaboration and community service. Not only is she our CEO at Maximize, she is also the founder and co-creator of the Lakeland Business Leaders and Lakeland Connection.